I was once was invited to speak at an American Indian Education Conference in Stevens Point, WI. I pre-planned a speech and to play my Native American flute. At that time, I was a student at UW-Milwaukee in the fine arts department specializing in drawing and painting and part of the Multicultural Expressions Group. I was all prepared to go on when I was swept up in emotion. My Mohican Grandmother had passed away and this was my first time up north since she had passed. The smell of the forest surrounding me was awakening memories of my Grandmother. At a spur of the moment, I walked out of the building skipping lunch and started walking up the road not knowing where I was going. Up ahead I noticed a nature preserve and turned off the road. I walked down the wooded path alone and I noticed a mound. I climbed up the mound and fell to the ground sobbing reflecting upon the loss of my Grandmother. I cried and cried laying in the grass and then all of a sudden I felt something touch my hand and a wave of peace washed over me. I slowly looked up and saw a spider sitting on my hand. I remembered the teachings of Grandmother Spider and felt that was my Grandmother on my hand and that she came back to comfort me as a spider. I felt relieved and calmer. I got up and promptly returned to the conference to do my presentation. When I was up there I made an impromptu speech about my love for my Mohican Grandmother and how I sung her favorite song at her funeral because her spirit told me to and how I hadn’t known beforehand that it was her favorite song. Her spirit reached out to me. When I was done with my speech a small boy pushed through the crowd and came straight for me to hug me. He said he was Stockbridge too! I saw then the power of a healing story and the sense of tribal proud this boy had because I choose to honor my tribe and my Mohican Grandmother. Now when I see a spider on the wall as I am typing on my computer writing my story I smile inside knowing she is watching over me and encouraging me to tell my story.
Wenona Morning Star Gardner
Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Nation